Monday, July 28, 2014

3rd Birthday in Photos

(Sorry in advance for all the photos, but 3rd birthdays need to be documented.)

We loaded all the kids up in the car on the morning of Xander's birthday to go to the Patriots Training Camp.

"Xander, how old are you now?"


"How about a nice one?"

I'll take it.

Declan is teething, but still so sweet and easy.

Our biggest football fan was very excited for this day!

I can see why people think Eamon and Maggie are twins.

Cheeseball.
At the practice, they have a big area filled with jumpy things and football games for the kids.  It was a gorgeous day, and the lines were long, but the kids (with some of their cousins) still had a blast:



I was hoping this would make a cute Christmas Card photo, but the birthday boy was not cooperating.









We got to meet Pat Patriot!  I was a little excited!!  He signed our kids jerseys and hats too, what a guy :)


Maybe one of these will make it on the Christmas card?




We sat on the grass to eat lunch, and his was our view of the Patriots practicing:



Always with the tongue.
Then Phil and my sister took the kids to the stands for a loser view while I nursed Declan.  Xander was ready for a nap at this point, and was not very thrilled with watching the practice:


There's Gronk (#87) in the middle - finally healthy enough to play:

Wilfork (#75) was there too - my Mom's favorite:

And my favorite, Tom Brady (#12) smiled and stretched for the fans:
Maggie said "Why is he doing a split?"
After we went home and took some much needed naps (Xander, me and Declan) we celebrated with the birthday boy's meal of his choice - pancakes, sausage, bacon, and fruit.  Then of course a cake and ice cream.

Trying to blow it out with his mouth...

Getting smart and using the fan he had in his hand instead!
Present time!
Underwear!


Lunchbox for preschool!


Hand-me-down Hess trucks from Miss Haley!

A guitar from Gammy and Grandpa.  My musical boy was so happy and said "I just can't believe it!"


Hugs all around!



After reading Britt's post, we bought him a toy chainsaw:




And then Declan was like "What were you thinking?"
Grandpa's huge hand.
It was such a fun day, and Xander was happy to be the center of attention.  He kept thinking his birthday was a place, and asking "When are we going to my birthday?" So funny.  I'm hoping the 3's will be a little less terrible than the 2's were, but we'll keep him either way ;)

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Happy Wife Project: Parenting is Not a Job



The Happy Wife Project is a year-long effort to alter life for the better. Throughout the next 12 months, it will explore beauty, a woman's heart and soul, the domestic routine, and making the house a home. Every month, there will be a challenge oriented toward making your life better. You'll have the opportunity to make the challenge your own and link up a blog post discussing how it went. 

To kick off this project, I'm part of a great blog hop of moms! We're talking about our expectations of what we thought parenting would be like - and what it turned out to actually be. Be sure to read all the stops along the way! You can check out more about The Happy Wife Project here.




Parenting is Not a Job

Growing up in a big family meant there were always people around.  Growing up on the tail end of a big family meant that most of these people were older.  But ever since I was a young girl, I knew I wanted to be a mom and have lots of babies.  12 to be exact, and I would doodle their future names in notebooks and be around little kids as often as I could.  I took on jobs babysitting and worked in a daycare.  These jobs changed me a little because I would come home exhausted, wondering if having babies was a little more work than I had bargained for.  But I still longed to be a mom and have a sweet bambino to hold.

Luckily for me, it was in God's plans that I married young and had my first child on my 24th birthday.  What a gift! After having my own baby, I realized two important differences between having your own child versus watching someone else's child:

1) 
Raising a child is a lot of physically demanding, emotionally draining, mentally tiring hard work. You are responsible for their well-being, you are their example, and you are with them 24/7.   My dream number of kids went quickly from 12 down to 6 :)

BUT...

2) You'll never love a child more than the child you mother.

I never wondered again if raising kids was too much work, like I used to have after watching other people's kids.  I knew this motherhood thing was my gig.  Yes, it can be so hard and isolating in the beginning, but things get easier and days go smoother and before you know it, you're pining away for another baby to hold.  Children give your life a new purpose, it's so hard to even remember what my husband and I used to do with our time before kids!  

When I see young couples now who look at our large family and let me in on a little secret that they're not sure if they want to be parents because just watching their {insert difficult child relative} is really hard...I tell them, yes it is, but it's the most rewarding thing you can do.  The unconditional love you have raising your children is work, but it's not a job.  It's a vocation, and God will give you the grace you need when you need it.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Five Favorites

Wow, it's been so long since I've participated in Five Favorites that the host has changed!  Hi Heather!  And away we gooooooo....

1)
Sarah and her cute crew.

Sarah is coming to visit!!  We have been blog friends for 6 years now, since finding one another's blogs back in their early days.  I prayed for years for her secondary infertility and was thrilled to watch her finally get pregnant with her third child, and then have her fourth right after that.  God is good!  I can't believe we are finally going to meet face to face, and she can see all the craziness in the Martin house.  I'm already planning the weekend, and it should include lots of sightseeing and running together.   Which leads me to....

2)
Katie and I

The Run for the Little Flowers 5k.  I have run this virtual race (that means anyone can run it anywhere) for the last two years to help out the Little Flowers orphanage in China.  This year, the proceeds from the race are going to be split between the orphanage AND helping Katie's family cover her adoption expenses as they bring home their baby girl from China!  I'm so happy for them, especially since her name is Felicity Grace, and that was the exact name we had picked out if Declan had been a she instead of a he, which brings me to...

3)
Declan.  Oh my gosh, can a mother have a favorite child?  No?  How about just a favorite child du jour?  Oui?  Declan is certainly on a streak then because I mean, just look at him:


He's so sweet and easy and funny, just like...

4) 
His big brother (the funny part, not the easy part).  This is a glimpse of what life is like with Alexander.  Here they are at Phil's summer camp dancing to the Chicken Dance, in a circle.  Well, everyone is supposed to be in a circle, not in the middle of the circle, and you can just guess where Xander ended up:


He can't even help himself, he's just feeling the beat!  The boy loves music, kinda like....

5)
Peg + Cat, as in the PBS kid's show.  When I first started watching it (with the kids, it's not like I stay up late watching PBS kids shows...often) I found it very annoying.  But it has totally grown on me.  Peg (a derivitive of the name Margaret, how?what?why?) always has a REALLY BIG PROBLEM on her hands, but is able to solve it through staying calm, using math, and relying on her funny friend Cat.  The background of this show is grid paper.  My accountants heart just expands to the nth degree when I see that.


Just look at those infinity clouds.  So clever.



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